Third Party?

Posted by Emily Barnhill

            Of course I am going to talk about the topic everyone has on their minds on November 7th, the election. This election was an eye opener for me it was the first one in which I could vote and I must say that it was a daunting task. I didn’t like either of the major party candidates all that much. The one person I did like, Gary Johnson, ended up getting only 1% of the vote which granted is quite high for someone with virtually no media coverage and on a third party ticket.

What bothered me was my reaction to the situation. Up until the last week of the campaign I had firmly decided that I would vote for Johnson because he almost identically matches my policy preferences with a few minor exceptions. However when I got into the in-person absentee voting booth out in the boonies of Spotsylvania County I couldn’t bring myself to vote for the third party. Just because as strongly as I supported Johnson I couldn’t bring myself to vote for someone who I know had no real chance at winning when I actively couldn’t stand one of the main party candidates. It was a real “the enemy of the enemy is my friend” sort of scenario. So went ahead and voted within the major parties right on down the ballot

Then when I was driving home the thought occurred to me: if I can’t vote outside of the two party system, which I actively loathe as an overall concept, then what chance does a third party have at breaking in among the average American voters? I’m a political junkie, pre-law, government major so I’m surrounded by the theories and exposed to more schools of thought than the average person ever will be but I still wasn’t able to break out of the box. This makes me worry that the United States really never will be able to break out of the stranglehold that the Democratic and Republican parties have on the nation.

3 Responses to “Third Party?”

  1.   Roger Dean Says:

    We aren’t suppose to. The two party system dates back to Federalist Papers 10 written by James Madison. In this he discusses how opposing factions are necessary to promote justice. He basically says that he prefers larger government while some people are vehemently opposed. I prefer the small third parties because they can drastically effect an election. In the 200 election between Gore and Bush. Ralph Nader made the election really with all of the FL. controversy. Those people could have voted for Gore and that would have won him the election, but that is another story. I don’t believe America will ever get out of the Two Party System and I don’t think many people want us to.

    Federalist Paper 10:

  2.   rgawat Says:

    Agreed Emily,

    It honestly does suck that that is the case. Most people that supported the third party probably had the same thoughts as you, and that’s probably also a reason why they never got such few votes.

    Probably if everyone that thought like you, actually voted for the third party instead of changing their minds and voting on one of the top two parties, the third party might have actually gotten at least 10% of the votes.

    But because most people believe the third party stands no chance, no one votes third party. And that’s the reason why the third party stands no chance, it’s a catch 22.

    I read the book catch 22, but I have no idea what the phrase catch 22 even means. I just throw it out there every now and then in a situation that doesn’t make sense. But I think it fits correctly in this scenario.

  3.   ptinnell Says:

    George Washington warned us about the dangers of political parties in his farewell address, didn’t he? It is true that most people vote directly along party lines rather than looking at what a candidate specifically stands for. And even though I myself tend to stick pretty strongly beside my party lines, I do often wish that a third party candidate would rise up and win. Maybe it’s because I love a good story about the under dog winning or maybe it’s because I realize how the two major party systems we have show a fairly clear divide in our country. And while I do believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinions wheather they be major party lines or independent, I also trust good ol Abe Lincoln when he said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Leave a Reply